The Fruit

Once my dad and I went to get some fruit. I must have been about 6 years old. On the way we saw a man selling bor (Indian jujube) and dad decided to buy it.

Dad was busy collecting fruit to be weighed. I stood there pretending to feel cold. Once he paid the fruitseller, he took the fruit and turned to leave with me.

After walking a few steps, I proudly showed him one fruit in my hand. He was surprised and  asked where I got it from. I said while he was picking the fruit, I stood there pretending to shiver while all the while I had a fruit clasped in my hands.

Dad scolded me for stealing and asked me to return the fruit to the seller. I don’t recall what happened after that but I’m glad that dad didn’t encourage stealing however small.

Have you picked up something you were not supposed to?

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The Dog in the Train

Once I was travelling by train. I was going home after my classes. At that time I travelled by local trains as it got me home in about an hour.

That day, our train was relatively empty. All the women were seated. When the train halted  at about the second  station, a stray dog entered our compartment. He quietly took his place in the standing area. I am scared of dogs in general. So when this stray came in..I got nervous.

Surprisingly, no one in our compartment was bothered. It was as if nobody noticed the dog getting in. Before the train pulled out of the station, a couple of street kids also got in. The train started chugging along and picked up speed. Now I got very nervous. What if the dog jumps out of the running train? What if he attacks us? And more questions crowded my mind. In the meantime, the street kids were having fun. They sang, danced in front of the dog, made fun of it. All through this, the dog sat unperturbed. I was afraid that the dog might attack them.

Finally the train reached the next station. I quickly got up from my seat and went to the dog. I tried to make it get off at the station. The kids continued their song and dance around the dog. Seeing all this the dog growled. It seemed as if he said, “Leave me alone. I know what I am doing.” That growl was enough to scare me. I quickly sat in my place. Within the next few seconds the dog got up and got off at the station…precisely before the train started.
The girl sitting next to me smirked. It made me wonder ..maybe this dog is a regular in this train…maybe the people in this compartment see him everyday..maybe the dog does this in remembrance of someone or something it misses…does he travel back by train? I don’t know. I never will. But the memory of how he sat quietly and got off ..almost as if he knew what he was doing will always intrigue me.

Have you seen animals behave like this? Share in the comments.

The Truth about Fast Trains

When I was a kid, trains fascinated me. Particularly fast trains. I would stand on the platform and stare at them as they sped by.

What I didn’t know at that time was the difference between fast and slow trains. Fast trains were the ones which stopped only at major stations. Therefore, in a one hour train journey the train would halt at 3 or 4 stations.The slow trains or locals halted at every station, big or small. That would make easily make 12-15 stops in an hour’s journey.

All I knew about fast trains were that they were fast. In those days, fast trains were not as frequent as they are today. They also did not stop at the platform near where we stayed. (Now they do.)

I would wonder how people ever got into a fast train. Did they have super powers? I would convince myself that they learnt to get in the train over time. I wondered if I would ever learn to get into one. Maybe as an adult, with loads of practice I would manage to get in as soon as one passed by. Hmm, I must develop great skill by then! I mused.

Years later, I realized fast trains stopped at specific stations and people got into them just like slow trains. Phew! I was relieved. No special skills needed! Much later, I did get a chance to travel by fast trains.

As a child, have you ever thought differently about the way things functioned? When did you realize the fact? Share in the comments.

Mix and Match

When I was a kid, my mum would take me grocery shopping. There was one shop that we visited which was my favorite. The grocer in this particular shop would arrange lentils in tin containers (about 5″ x 5″). There were at least ten of these tins usually arranged in two rows. He did this for customers to select the lentils with ease.

I would be thrilled when mom took me there. The sight of bright green, yellow, pink, black lentils made me happy. So, mom would continue with shopping and the grocer doing his job.

Now comes the fun part. When the grocer was busy taking orders or doing some other transaction, I would pick a fistful of lentils from one tin and mix it with the contents of another. I would manage to mix up many of these lentils. By then, mom would have finished her shopping. I would pretend as if nothing happened and we would be out of the shop. This went on for quite some time. The poor shopkeeper must have had a tough time sorting the lentils!

One day, mom took me as usual to the shop. When everyone got busy, I started my “mix and match”. I guess I got a little carried away and stopped being on the guard. The shopkeeper caught me, quite literally, with a fistful of lentils ready to be mixed  in the next tin. He said, “Hey stop doing that!”. And that was enough for me to stop it entirely. Over the next few visits, I would longingly look at the lentils. How I wish I could mix them up! But, I was too scared to be caught again. The shopkeeper would have banned me from entering the shop then.

Have you mixed up things as a kid? Share in the comments.

The Importance of Play

We love to give our kids the best of toys. Battery operated bright, colorful buzzing toys. These toys may well have their place in developing a child. For example, give a car to a kid and he’ll spend hours moving it up and down in all places he thinks is a road for the car to travel on. But, what next? He’ll get bored of the same car everyday and soon you’ll find the shiny car you bought him last month is abandoned in the toy box.

You can’t really blame a toddler for this behavior. Even if I had only a few things to keep me occupied (say watching videos) I would get bored easily.  What’s the solution then? Here’s a list of tried and tested methods to keep your toddler busy. Mind you, these don’t require batteries. They are inexpensive, easily available toys that don’t cost a bomb. But before we start, know that toys can’t take your place. You HAVE to sit and play with your child and there is no excuse for that. Your kid needs your time and no machine can replace that. Enough said, here goes my list!

Play doh or home made dough: You can buy readily available clay or quickly make some with flour, water, oil and some food coloring. You may also use liquid blue (used for whitening clothes, just a couple of drops is sufficient). Allow your kid to roll it, cut it, press shapes into it, punch it whatever. This activity will help your kid to improve his grip and also encourage creativity by making different articles of clay.

Read a book aloud: This one’s easy. Some kids don’t really like books. You can be animated while reading the books. Allow the child to turn the pages as you read. Again, don’t force the kid to sit and listen to you.

Bat and ball: The humble bat and ball will teach your kids to take turns while playing. Throw a ball and say out loud “hit” so a kid knows it’s his turn to hit the ball. It will take some time before he can hold and swing a bat by himself but once he does, it will be a delight. Who knows he might be the next cricketing superstar!

Clothesline Clips: These clips will help your kid to build better grip especially as a pre-writing skill. You can use a ring or a colorful vessel. Ask your kid to attach the clip on the ring or on the rim of the vessel. To make it interesting, tell him to group similar colors and clip them together.

Beans or buttons: You can use different types of colored beans or buttons for this activity. Mix them all up and ask your child to sort the beans. Ensure that your child is not too young or they may put it into their mouth.

Jumping: You can make jumping more fun with your kid by taping or placing colorful objects on the floor. For example, place a yellow toy on one tile, blue on another and so on. Now hold your kid’s hand and shout yellow. Both of you should jump on the tile where there’s yellow. Take turns to yell out the color or object names.

General tips while playing with kids

  • Ensure that you speak loudly and clearly while playing.
  • Don’t be too stern.
  • If things get too boring, sing a song in between play. As you play, you will discover your creativity emerge and you will be able to design your own games with your kid.
  • If one activity is too tough for your kid, move on to another. There is no point in forcing a kid to play a game he does not like. You can come back to the activity after a few days.

There will be noise but it will be fun. After all you are not playing chess with an adult, are you? You will be able to understand your child better and he will interact with you more meaningfully. So, let go and let your creativity grow. What games do you play with your kid? Share in the comments.

Sibling Sippers

When we were young our parents would take us out often. Especially to the city side. We would visit different places or shop for new clothes or shoes.

In the end, we would stop by a restaurant and dad would order tea and snacks. For mum,it was always just coffee. For my sister and me a few snacks too. I remember never getting tired of masala dosa (fermented rice and lentil crepes with potato filling). One thing we both had in common was a mango drink. I think in those days Dukes Mangola ruled the market.

The drink (about 250 ml) would be in thick glass bottles chilled to perfection. Aah…happiness! We would sip it as if it was some magic drink. Mind you, we only got to drink Mangola on such special occasions so it was precious.

In the beginning, we would sip it without minding each other until the last 10 or 15 ml. Once we reached there, the competition began. But with a twist. It was not who finished
first but rather who finished last. You see we pretended that the one who finished last could not manage to finish faster because she had a bigger bottle and so more Mangola. So each of us waited till the other gave up.

We would play around with that last 15 ml of juice till our parents would nudge us that it was time to go home. That was when we quickly gulped the remaining mango juice.
Neither of us wanted to leave the precious juice in the bottle, you see.

This time there was no competition. Just contentment of having had the perfectly chilled mango juice ever.

How did you compete with your sibling in your childhood? Share in the comments.

The Perfect Head

Have you ever observed young children closely? I mean as young as 2 years old?  If you are a mom or are someone who works with toddlers often, then you’ll most likely observe their head shape (the back of the head that is!)

Heads can be round, flat or squarish. Babies aged 6 to 8 months can often have flat heads because they lie down most of the time. You may have also noticed some children have a small portion of their head flattened or tapering towards one side. This often happens when infants keep their head on a particular side when they sleep.

Many parents fuss over a baby’s head shape. Those who fuss also insist that head shapes can be controlled. In other words, you can prevent a child from getting a flat head.

Let’s look at some of the popular methods.

Baby oil massages before bath are common in many countries. Some moms say that massaging the baby’s head in circular motions gives it a nice round shape.

Others use a pillow filled with beans. These pillows are not dense like cotton pillows. They also allow baby to adjust her head according to her sleeping position.

Yet, other moms create a flattened, round and coiled structure with a stretch of soft cotton fabric(resembles a churro or chakli.)

In spite of all this, there will still be babies who refuse to co-operate. They will still want to rest their head in their favorite sleeping position. The result will be a visible flattening on that part of the head.

My advice is to let them be. Of course, you need to try your best to give them a nice round head shape but if they don’t co-operate then don’t fret.  As they grow, their head size will increase and so will the amount of hair on their head. You won’t see the flattened part then.

What techniques have you tried to get a good head shape for baby? Were you successful? Share in the comments.

Na..Na..Nappies!

image-for-nappies

Nappies.  So many in a day. In the first six months, you feel all you do is change nappies. Put one on, walk away and its time to remove and put the second one.

And then there are diapers. Put one, let it stay for about 3 hours or until baby has pooped and change. Phew!

While there are some parents (mostly moms!) who cannot live without diapers for their little ones, there are others who’ll put them on only at night. Which is good if you are okay washing almost a  bucket of cloth nappies later. Good for your budget too ! The washing, drying, disinfecting sometimes get so tiring that you feel you are better off with diapers.

And then there are some parents who’ll leave their babies free. No nappies, no diapers, just free. So let the kid pee wherever he wants to. You’ll just have to mop it up, or wash the sheet or mattress later. While this is the easiest way out, you might want to put a waterproof material where your child is likely to pee. Not to mention the whole house may have a smell (fragrance?) of baby pee in a couple of days. Of course, you won’t notice it but ask someone who’s just entered the house. They are sure to notice it.

So, what do you do? How do you decide what’s best for your child? I would advise using a mix of both. At night, use a diaper compulsorily unless you want to disturb yourself and baby by checking every hour.  In the morning after a bath, for a nap you can use a cloth nappy. Then you may use a diaper again upto lunch time. After a meal, its nap time again. At this time you may leave the baby free putting only pants on or just a cotton cloth. Cover baby so he doesn’t get cold in his sleep.

In the evening, after he wakes up, you can put a diaper on again. Take him out for a stroll. Keep the diaper till before dinner time. Before you change him for the night, leave the child free of diapers for some time.

So that makes about 3 diapers in a day. Not too bad, huh?  And the bucket of clothes to wash will be reduced to half or less than half. It will make you feel less overburdened.

Of course, you need to consider other things. Some infants suffer from diaper rash, others nappy rash. Else they may get allergic to the detergent used for washing nappies. Otherwise I hope you find the information useful. What method do you use? Share in the comments.

*Image by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Raising Little Ones

a notepad with parenting 101 scribbled on it

Hi ! For all parents out there, one thing we know for sure….. parenting can be tough! Your little ones can make you happy, sad, drive you crazy, or make you simply exhausted.

So here’s my little attempt to offer some advice (or share incidents) with new parents on how to tackle similar situations with their little ones. Of course, parenting sites make up a large chunk of the Internet. So how will this one be different? Here, I will only post my experience as a parent or of someone I know or have seen first hand.

Hoping this will be useful to you. See you around!

 

The Apology Letter

We all love food that our moms make. I love my mom’s food too.

This incident occurred when I was about 8 years old. Mom made aloo mutter(peas and potatoes cooked in a rich onion-tomato base). She made a pan full of the dish then left for office.

I think I had a holiday at school that day. So when it was lunchtime, I had the dish with rice…mmm yummy..so I took it a second time…mmmmm!
The third time I went directly to the kitchen and  took a spoonful of the gravy and had it..and then again….this happened until I wiped the utensil clean.

Now what? Suddenly I felt fearful. What would mom say? Wouldn’t she scold me? How can one person finish a dish that could fill at least 3  people?

So I thought of a plan. I wrote a letter to her. It was not a small one. I started by describing the dish and how tasty it was and how I was tempted to have more and more. I ended the letter apologising to her.

To make it look like a real letter, I made an envelope and put the letter in it. Wrote our address on it and even pasted a used stamp I got from some other letter.  I was satisfied now.

In the evening when mom came back from office, I pretended that the postman delivered a letter with her name on it.

Mom of course knew it was me. Nevertheless, she patiently read the letter. I could see that she was amused while she went through the content.

By the end she laughed. But she also wondered how could an 8 year old skinny kid empty an entire dish. Was it so tasty? she asked amused. Phew! I was relieved that she didn’t scold me and hopped away happily.